Jun 18, 2004

Garden beauties

By: Robert Perilla

Garden beauties Author: Style At Home

Jun 18, 2004

Garden beauties

By: Robert Perilla

Most people love flowers and plants but often don't indulge in the pleasure of planting their own because they're unsure how to care for them. As an individual who has dispensed advice to floral professionals for 16 years, I've compiled a list of effective, easy-to-use tips to make your flowers, plants and world more beautiful.

The top 20

1 To keep your flowers looking better and lasting longer, display them in a vase and make sure that none of the leaves are covered with water. Leaves decay in water, and they'll drastically decrease the vase-life of your cut flowers.

2 First things first: When you bring flowers home, cut the stems at an angle and then place them in fresh water for a nice long drink before removing the wrapping.

3 The most important thing you can do to make your flowers last is use a vase that is clean and freshly washed.

4 When the water in a vase starts getting low, don't dump it and start all over again. Flowers are at their happiest when you just top off the existing water by adding some that is fresh.

5 Just like humans, flowers rest more comfortably at night when it's cool. Try a lower thermostat setting in the evening and give your flowers a chance to perk up by the morning.

6 Decorating a buffet with flowers? Keep the flowers away from fruit – fruit gives off ethylene gas, which accelerates the aging process of flowers.

7 Maximize your pleasure from gladiolas. To assure a full and spectacular display, make sure that at least one flower on each stem is open when you buy them.

8 Once called African daisies, gerberas have become even more popular now that you can choose both the colour and size – gerberas come in standard, huge, mini and micro-mini.

9 Daffodils make a house look homey, but be careful. They secrete a poison into the water that can be deadly to any other flowers you put in the vase.

10 Iris item: When buying irises, make sure that they are showing colour on the buds or they may never open.

11 Gardenias are a hearty variety whose white flowers set off the decor in any living room. Remember, these flowers require light, but avoid putting them in the sunny part of a room.

12 With dramatic pink, white and blue flowers, cyclamen are beautiful plants. However, they can cause illness if accidentally eaten, so be sure to keep them away from children and pets.

13 Give your flowers a second life by drying them before they're past their prime.

14 Keep an aloe plant handy in the kitchen. Its juice offers quick relief from any cooking burns. Aloe plants like water, so make sure that the soil is moist, but don't mist the leaves or you'll kill the plant.

15 Not sure how much sunlight hits a particular section of your garden? Plant hydrangeas. They thrive in bright, moderate and very little light.

16 Can't find lilies of the valley at your garden centre? Remember, they're sometimes listed by their botanical name Convallaria.

17 Do you speak to your plants? Whether or not that really improves their health, one thing is certain – if you don't give your plants proper nutrients and sunlight, nothing you say will help them grow.

18 Want to eat lunch outdoors in your backyard but can't stand the bugs? Try decorating the area around your table with pretty rose or lemon geranium plants, which are effective at keeping many small bugs at a distance.

19 If you want to encourage the continuous blooming of the plants in your garden, remove the flower head after it finishes blooming.

20 Fun fact: Once a flower is named and registered in Holland, it can never be renamed. The late Audrey Hepburn was honoured eight years ago with the Audrey Hepburn Rose.

Courtesy of Article Resource Association

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Garden beauties